Michael’s scout troop had a mild parade to the church and back on St. Patrick’s Day. While it can’t be said that Michael regarded his trip to mass with any great enthusiasm, he attended with a greater degree of resignation than is typical and he brought up shamrock to the altar as part of the service.
The militaristic aspect of the scouts was strongly in evidence with a commanding officer shouting out instructions in army Irish (less intelligible than the other strongest Irish dialect – school Irish). Some of the troops marched with their hands in their pockets so clearly work to be done. Back in the scout hall, a former scout who is now something lofty in the Irish army presented a flag and spoke of his experience as a scout many years previously. Again, Michael bore it all with fortitude.
The Monday after Patrick’s Day, he had his reward. He got his first badge. He had to climb a mountain (covered some weeks previously) but he also had to write an account of it. I was astonished to see that he knuckled down and did it without any nagging (no nagging because we had forgotten, alas) and on submission, got his badge. Hurrah!